Pubdate: Thu, 01 Sep 2016
Source: Barrie Advance, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Metroland Printing, Publishing and Distributing
Author: Jenni Dunning


Tim Burdick received a shock yesterday when he arrived at Sunrise
Medicinal in downtown Barrie to find police had raided the marijuana
dispensary and arrested employees.

He had driven from his Oro-Medonte home to get medical marijuana to
help him deal with the nausea and lack of appetite due to cancer treatments.

"It sucks. It's the only reason I came down," he said. "I'll have to
go to the black market. I'm not driving to Toronto, and who (there)
has any left?"

Months after Toronto Police raided dozens of illegal marijuana
dispensaries in May, Barrie Police cracked down on two storefront
dispensaries here Tuesday.

Responding to community complaints, the Street Crime Unit raided
Sunrise Medicinal on Dunlop Street East and Med West on Dunlop Street
West at 11 a.m.

People were arrested at both locations, with charges against four
announced Wednesday.

A worker at Sunrise, a 63-year-old Wasaga Beach man, and three people
described by police as owner/operators of Med West - a 30-year-old
Coldwater man and two Barrie men, 29 and 30 - are all charged with
trafficking a controlled substance and possession for the purpose of
trafficking. They are all to appear in court in Barrie Sept. 28.

Thursday, a 30-year-old Alliston man, who police identified as the
owner of Sunrise Medicinal, was arrested and charged with Trafficking
a Controlled Substance and Possession for the Purpose of

Burdick said he would rather the dispensaries be made legal so people
who legitimately need medical marijuana can access it, noting the
staff and owner at Sunrise Medicinal appeared professional and

William Haire of Barrie took a cab from his girlfriend's Innisfil home
to Sunrise yesterday to get medical marijuana.

"It shouldn't be illegal. It's just a pain in the rear end," he

Now Burdick plans to deal with Tweed Main Street on Dunlop Street,
which is a legal operation dispensing advice and connections to
doctors and licensed pot producers.

Haire said he uses Sunrise because to access the product through
Health Canada can take three or four days.

"It's always been good for me," he said of Sunrise. "They should all
be legal."

He questioned why Sunrise was not shut down earlier because he had
been going there for the last month.

Barrie Police Service worked with the City of Barrie's bylaw
department, the Crown attorney's office and the Simcoe Muskoka Health
Unit leading up to the raid, Rodgers said.

"It was definitely a lengthy investigation. Anything to do with this
magnitude of investigation is what takes time," she said. "There's a
long process in gathering evidence and making sure we can execute
warrants with the information that we need."

Police will continue to work with Health Canada and enforce Access to
Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, the police service said in
a media release.

The marijuana dispensaries are not Health Canada-licensed producers or
distributors as defined in the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes
Regulations (ACMPR), according to Barrie Police.

Health Canada states "only producers who are authorized to produce and
sell to the public may sell or provide dried marijuana, fresh
marijuana or cannabis oil to eligible persons."

Sunrise's owner, Joseph Bidinot, who did not return calls for comment,
made a presentation to Barrie's finance committee in June, encouraging
the city to regulate the industry locally.

The committee decided not to move forward with any changes, but
Sunrise's operational model was then reviewed by the city.

"Sunrise Medicinal believes that municipal bylaws are required for
this new industry," Bidinot said at the time.

He added regulation is less about capping the number of medical
cannabis storefronts, rather operating them in a "responsible manner
that protects the interests of the community and patients."

Coun. Rose Romita, whose ward covers downtown Barrie, said she was
happy to see police shut down Sunrise and Med West.

"It doesn't matter what they're selling, it's an illegal operation.
The cops had to do what they had to do," she said. "If you need
medical marijuana, you get it through the proper means. Period. With
no licence, it was only a matter of time. Time's up."

Romita said, before the raids, another dispensary was planning to open
on Innisfil Street.

"I hope this is loud and clear: don't come," she said.

Doug Rawson, president of Simcoe Holistic Health, a legal medical
marijuana clinic on Cedar Point Drive, said the industry is confusing
to people.

"It's not really clear what's legal and not legal," said Rawson, who
is also a councillor in Penetanguishene. "I'm happy that the current
regulations are being enforced and they're not making pawns of the

Lucie Dallaire, owner of Fountain of Youth Salon & Spa, which is next
to Med West, said she was shocked when her neighbour was arrested
because she thought the business was legal.

"They were good neighbours," she said, adding he even installed a
charcoal filter between the two businesses so her customers would not
smell marijuana. "I thought they sold to the wrong people. That was my
assumption. I was playing private investigator."
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